What is a hashtag?
A hashtag is essentially a topic - a word or phrase (with no spaces) used on social media, and prefixed with the hash symbol: #. Hashtags allow groups of similarly tagged messages to be categorised and appear easily in social search.
If you’re active on social media, you may have come across or used a few hashtags. But are there any Twitter hashtag best practices for B2B marketers to follow to maximise lead generation potential?
An example of hashtags within a Tweet.
Twitter hashtag best practices for B2B lead generation
Recognise the lead generation potential
While it’s tempting to see hashtags as something for the #yolo generation only, they hold incredible insight for B2B marketers.
Because hashtags can be any word or phrase relevant to your content, using the right ones will boost B2B lead generation by increasing reach, and highlighting the relevance of your posts to niche audiences.
Know where to use hashtags
Not all social channels use hashtags. Hashtags work on Twitter, Instagram, Google+ and Facebook among others.
On Twitter, you can use hashtags in any Tweet you send, and add key hashtag terms into profile descriptions, Lead Generation cards and Twitter ads to increase reach.
Know how many hashtags to use, and how often
The number of hashtags you should use in a single message, and the frequency you post at depends on the social network being used.
On Twitter, using one or two hashtags in a Tweet can increase engagement up to 21% according to Buffer. But more than three, and Tweets can see a 17% drop in engagement.
This graphic provides further detail into the retweet, favorite and response statistics well-composed Tweets can expect, and gives insight into how other social networks use hashtags. Instagram posts for example are more successful when they feature 11+ hashtags.
Research your hashtags
If a hashtag is mentioned by enough users at once, it will trend. On Twitter, regional trends are visible on the left hand side of the main page. But you shouldn’t just jump on trending hashtags or events to boost your content. If you don’t quite understand a hashtag’s meaning you may come across as insensitive, or ill-informed. Trending hashtags are also prime candidates for Tweet saturation.
Instead, target the hashtags consistently relevant to your niche. Use tools like Ritetag, Tagboard and Hashtagify to establish the popularity of your hashtags, find related tags and establish reach. Pick industry or brand keywords, and check to see that there is a good level of engagement around the tags you choose. This will help to boost your credibility as a niche thought leader.
Still not sure what hashtags to choose? This flowchart by The Drum gives a good process to follow when refining your hashtags.
Use hashtags to engage - #TwitterChats
Twitter chats are an excellent way to engage with your audience around a common niche topic, and build relationships. Chats are where hashtags really come into their own; everyone involved in the chat will include the chat hashtag (e.g. #StrategicICChat) in their responses, making tweets and users easy to find and engage with.
Equally, you can boost engagement and recognition by using hashtags across your marketing channels (in webinars or events for example).
Tools like tweetchat can simplify engagement around a hashtag, but this can also be done via Twitter search.
Do your research
Do use hashtags relevant to your niche
Do keep hashtags short (just key words or phrases)
Do use hashtags to build and continue your relationship with prospects
Don’t use spaces or symbols in your hashtag
Don’t use more than two hashtags per tweet
Don’t use popular trends for the sake of it
Don’t use hashtags on LinkedIn